A funny thing happened on the way to school last week. My son, a high school senior, was getting ready for an awards event. Before leaving he asked me to tie his tie for him. Putting a tie on is something I’ve done almost every morning for more than twenty years. You think I could do it in my sleep by now. But I couldn’t! First I tried to do tie it standing in front of him while it was around his neck. That was strange; I’d never done it before from that perspective. Then I tried to tie one around my neck, over my own tie, while standing in front of his mirror. For some reason that was even stranger. It took me almost fifteen minutes before I could get it tied. For years I put on my tie in the same room, at the same time, in the same mirror, the same way for so long. Now I was out of my element, in a new environment, and I couldn’t do it. The entire process was on auto-pilot and when something new came along the process broke down.
The same thing can happen if your job analysis process is on auto-pilot. When a job evaluation has been done the same way for so long it becomes ineffective. Companies that want to attract top talent must transcend the tradition of writing job descriptions. Today’s talent will not come to your company when the human resources process for job evaluation is a cut and paste operation. The HR job description from four years ago is not the same as a true performance based job analysis.
The process of job analysis consists of several steps (see my related post The Pros & Cons of Job Analysis). If you think your job analysis process is on auto-pilot, take a fresh approach. Start with your HR job description. This will have all of elements of what a person needs to have to do the job. But the job analysis process goes well beyond writing job descriptions. The next step is to understand what a person must do to be successful. This can be different from the HR job description. Would you rather have a person who has done the job successfully in the past or someone who has all the job description requirements? Most Strategic Employers would take the former, even if person didn’t have all the requirements in the HR job description.
Take your job analysis process off of auto-pilot. Begin the process of job analysis with what someone does to be successful, not what they need to have.
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